The first game of the ALDS went much the same as the first game of the regular season, with a zoned in Justin Verlander besting the Rays. But let’s all remember how the rest of that opening series went.
Rays fans can breathe a sigh of relief knowing this was not a must-win game. The opening game of the ALDS saw Cy Young candidate Justin Verlander take on young Tyler Glasnow, who was only activated from the injured list on September 8. Of course Verlander was heavily favored to be the winning pitcher, but no Rays fan would bet against the 6’8″ Glasnow, who has been tremendous since coming to the Rays from Pittsburgh.
Verlander did indeed dazzle, as he has so often done in the postseason. He pitched seven innings, giving up only a single hit, walking three, and striking out eight on exactly 100 pitches. Glasnow managed 4.1, have gave up two runs on four hits and three walks, striking out five. Not a bad outing in a regular game, but not ideal in a postseason showdown.
The game was scoreless until the fifth inning, showing the Glasnow was still doing well even when he struggled to avoid hits early on. It was a 358′ home run from Jose Altuve to score both Altuve and Josh Reddick, that spelled the end of the game for Glasnow.
The Rays dipped into their usually reliable bullpen. Brendan McKay came on in relief of Glasnow and unfortunately was on the mound for two unearned runs, on a fielder error by Brandon Lowe that allowed Yuli Gurriel to reach base and Michael Brantley and Alex Bregman to score.
Chaz Roe pitched an inning and third to no damage, and then in the seventh Oliver Drake took the hill and allowed a Yordan Alvarez double to score Bregman again, and then a ground rule double for Gurriel scored Alvarez, bringing the score to 6-0.
It was Eric Sogard, just added to the roster today after being out since mid-September, who was finally able to put the Rays on the board with an eighth inning single to score Joey Wendle. Austin Meadows then managed to hit a double to the deepest part of center field that allowed Sogard to come home.
The Rays weren’t able to get any additional runs for the day, but at least they were able to keep from being shutout. And while they were bested in the series opener, much like they were when they faced Verlander on Opening Day, it’s important to remember that they went on to win the next three games in that series.
The ALDS continues tomorrow in Houston at 9:07PM ET.